The ball hit Kayla Lezama in both hands on an inbound pass with six minutes to go in Friday’s game between Boston College women’s basketball and Marquette.
But instead of the Eagles getting a chance to cut into Marquette’s 14-point lead, Lezama mishandled the ball and it flew out of bounds behind her. Lezama immediately clapped her hands in a show of frustration over her mistake.
Errors like Lezama’s weren’t few and far between in BC’s matchup with the Golden Eagles.
“I can’t say we didn’t play hard any time in the game, but I thought we had some lulls where we didn’t play very smart,” BC head coach Joanna Bernabei-McNamee said.
Despite Andrea Daley’s career-high 24-point, nine-rebound statline, BC (3–3) fell 73–65 in its Friday contest against Marquette (5–0). Mackenzie Hare led the Golden Eagles with six 3-pointers and 25 total points.
Three of Hare’s 3-point makes came in the third quarter, when the Eagles gave up 26 points and trailed by as many as 17.
“I thought that third quarter, our defense really let off,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
According to Bernabei-McNamee, the Eagles were prepared for Hare’s excellent shooting. But BC failed to execute defensively and gave Hare too much space to shoot on long closeouts.
“They were prepared for that, but I don’t think they necessarily stuck to the game plan,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
Despite BC’s lackluster execution on defense, Daley’s resiliency and aggression kept BC in the game, especially in the second half, according to Bernabei-McNamee.
“She played extremely hard, and when players play like that it’s contagious,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
A minute into the second half, Daley asserted herself in the paint with a strong move to the basket, scoring over her defender. Half a minute later, she found a sweet spot on the glass once again, cutting Marquette’s lead to five at 36–31.
“She understands her role for us is to be a dominant scorer and to kind of take control,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
Seconds later, though, Hare erased Daley’s efforts, hitting a 3-pointer to push her team’s lead back to eight with 8:15 left in the third quarter.
Hare was not the only Golden Eagle who exploited BC’s defense.
About halfway through the first quarter, Marquette’s Jordan King scored her first points on a 3-point attempt from the right corner. Two minutes later, a miscommunication among BC defenders allowed King to pick up three more points on an and-1 layup.
King struck again 50 seconds into the second quarter, hitting a long 3-pointer from the right wing to make the score 16–15 and cut BC’s early lead to one.
Although the Eagles kept King to four points in the second half, the damage had already been done. She finished the game with 14 points.
“I thought we waited a little bit too long to play hard,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
Self-inflicted mistakes threw off BC’s performance, too.
The Eagles shot just 54.2 percent from the free throw line, sinking only 13 of their 24 attempts.
“I told them we’ve got to make free throws,” Bernabei-McNamee said. “We win the game if we shoot 90 percent from the free throw line.”
BC also made only four shots from behind the arc, compared to Marquette’s 10.
One of BC’s 3-point makes came at the end of the first half when T’yana Todd heaved up the ball at the buzzer, banking it off the glass to send the Eagles into halftime trailing 34–27.
Despite leading in spurts during the first half, the Eagles never recovered from their halftime deficit.
BC did, however, boast a solid fourth quarter, which featured glimpses of intensity on both ends of the floor and an effective full-court press.
With 4:28 left to play, BC’s tight defensive press rattled King, who threw the ball out of bounds in the backcourt while trying to pass to her teammate.
“In the fourth quarter we played so hard, but it was almost a little too late,” Bernabei-McNamee said.
Todd made a jumper with just under two minutes to play to cut the lead to 10 at 72–62, but a foul allowed Marquette’s Liza Karlen to sink two free throws, extending the lead back to 12 points, which proved to be too much for BC to overcome.
“I guess the best thing about basketball is we get another crack at it tomorrow, so hopefully this makes us mad and we take it out with a chip on our shoulder tomorrow and we come to play,” Bernabei-McNamee said.